A balmy summer in Ontario has made for an especially deadly summer out on the waters.
On Saturday, 19-year-old Hussein Da Silva was pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from the waters off Long Point.
Public Education Director with the Lifesaving Society Barbara Byers tells AM980 as of this past weekend there have been 75 drownings in Ontario, up from 59 at this time last year.
“This is different than the national trend because the national trend for all of Canada shows a slight decline in fatalities but Ontario is the region with the big increase and I think a fair explanation for this is the weather. It has been a very hot, dry summer in Ontario,” says Byers.
“We know from looking at stats for over 20 years that there is a correlation between the weather and drowning. In particular, drownings where people were swimming. So for example this year, there have been 25 drownings in Ontario amongst people who are swimming or intended to be in the water, compared to 17 last year.”
In addition to the spike in swimming-related deaths, Byers says drownings involving land, ice, or air transportation – for example, snowmobiles falling through ice or cars ending up in water – are more than double at 13 this year compared to 6 last year. Swimming deaths specifically involving backyard pools are at 7 in Ontario so far this year compared to 5 at this same time in 2015.
Byers stresses that these tragedies are usually preventable.
“”Often when they happen it’s because people may overestimate their swimming ability and underestimate the distance or power of the water. They may feel they’re a good swimmer but that might be in a controlled environment, say a pool. When they go out to a beach and there’s big waves and they get over their head it’s a whole different situation.”
Boating-related drownings and non-aquatic activity drownings – where people end up in water unexpectedly, for example falling into a water – are steady at 17 this year and last for boating-related drownings and 13 this year and 14 last year for non-aquatic activity drownings.